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Annual Report 2006/07: Services
Service developments

Extending our service to users continues to be a major focus, again with particular emphasis on support for students and on e-strategy development. Two key appointments - for the first time of a conservator as Preservation Librarian and to the newly created post of Digital Curation Manager - reflect the importance attached to the care and curation of collections in both print and electronic formats.

Service enhancements

The launch of UCL's RALIC (Replacement Access, Library and ID Card) service has streamlined library registration. The relevant information is now transferred direct from UCL corporate support systems into the library's membership database, eliminating the need for a separate library registration process for holders of UCL ID cards.

A significant number of users who already benefit from extended opening hours also want to be able to borrow books all the time that the buildings are open. Detailed planning began early in 2007 for implementing a system, based on radio frequency ID (RFID) tags that will allow users to borrow books even when the service desks are closed. It is hoped that the system, due to go live in the UCL Science Library in summer 2008, will eventually be extended to all other UCL Library Services sites.

The delivery service from the Wickford Store was extended during the year to cover the UCL Cruciform and UCL SSEES Libraries, the Royal Free Medical Library, UCL Library Services and the UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library. Readers at these libraries no longer have to go to the main campus to collect requested items but can instead ask to have them delivered direct to their library.

Enhancing digital access

The Library's portfolio of electronic resources continues to grow and to be heavily used; an increasing amount of this use is from off-campus as both students and staff take advantage of the opportunity to work at the place and time which suits them, unconstrained by library buildings and opening hours.

The popularity of electronic format was demonstrated by the positive reaction to the move in January 2007 to e-only provision of titles in science, technology and medicine published by Elsevier. This exercise is due to be repeated for titles from other major publishers in 2009.

During the year an enhanced 'walk-in' access service was launched. Each library site now houses a dedicated workstation allowing those Library users who are not staff and students of UCL access to those electronic resources where the publishers. licences permit.

As a result of collaboration with colleagues in UCL Information Systems, the Library catalogue eUCLid and resource discovery tool MetaLib are now available almost continuously with only a brief nightly outage of a few minutes. Usage statistics show that a significant and growing number of library users appreciate and make use of these services throughout the night. http://library.ucl.ac.uk/

Wise owls WISE

Resource discovery has also been greatly improved with the introduction of authority control into the Library catalogue. This ensures that the names, series titles and other headings contained in over one million records are consistent, so users can be more confident of having identified all relevant items when they search the catalogue.

Work has continued on providing web-based tutorials on how to make best use of library resources, with the completion of a new WISE module offering guidance to students in Biomedical and Life Sciences. Two further modules - one for Engineering and the Built Environment, another for Social & Historical Sciences - are nearing completion.

The number of items in UCL's open access repository for research papers, UCL Discovery, has doubled in the past year, making it the 5th largest in the UK. Requests for access to individual items have more than doubled, and the top papers are routinely downloaded more than 100 times per month. Amongst the most popular items are theses: the number of these will increase considerably in the next few years as UCL's decision to mandate deposition of electronic copies of research degree theses starts to take effect. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/

Student support and outreach

On behalf of the University of London's University Libraries Committee, Vincent Matthews chaired a small group of colleagues from libraries across the federal University of London to revise the terms of the long-standing University of London Libraries Access Agreement. This Agreement is an important supplement to other national schemes allowing access to other HE libraries for UK university students and staff. For UCL students, the Agreement means that they can use other University of London libraries during term-time, rather than being restricted to vacation use. The update agreement accepted by the University Libraries Committee is at: www.london.ac.uk/libraries agreement.html

Library Services was an active participant in UCL's two Open Days for prospective students in March 2007. Tours, the stand, lots of queries, informal tours and chats with students and parents, showed us that the Library is an important factor for visitors. Students were looking for computer access and their parents showed continued interest in printed resources.

In September 2006 we hosted a group of Gifted and Talented Year 12 students from Queen's Park Community School as part of an A2 Enrichment Day programme. They viewed selected materials from UCL Special Collections' 1914-18 collection to support their English Literature course. Library Services hosted visits from some 25 different schools during the year, supporting students working for their A levels or students considering applying to University. Our links with City and Islington College and in particular its 6th Form Centre continue to develop as we hosted a visit from some of their Resource Centre staff, recognizing how much we have in common with split site working as a common background. We extended borrowing and study rights to those City and Islington 6th Form Centre students who wanted to use our services.

Our seasonal Public Newsletter, UCL Library News was re-launched and as the year progressed we recognized that in future we shall make this an e-only publication. Like this report this allows us to include live links and plenty of illustrations. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Library/Newsletter

The Mocatta exhibition The Mocatta exhibition

2007 marked the 350th anniversary of the re-admission of the Jews to England under Cromwell and the Library with its substantial Hebrew and Jewish collections was well placed to celebrate the year. In November 2006 a dinner organized by Library Services was held in UCL with prominent members of the Anglo-Jewish Community attending. This coincided with a special exhibition in the Library displaying some of our treasures from UCL Special Collections. We loaned materials for exhibition also to the Cromwell Museum and the Jewish Museum's touring exhibition for the year. The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, used the Library and its collections as a backdrop to a BBC television programme on the 350th anniversary. Fortuitously the year also saw the centenary of the reception of the Mocatta Collection into UCL becoming the cornerstone of Library Services' Hebrew and Jewish collections and we were pleased to meet so many members of the current Mocatta family at the exhibition opening and dinner.

During the summer Library Staff displayed some of their own private collections in an exhibition called Eclectica. The mix of books, large and small, model buses, soldiers, owls and pigs sat well with antique lace and proved popular. Another library staff exhibition is planned for summer 2008.

A Box of Useful Knowledge A Box of Useful Knowledge (Brougham Papers)

As the new session started an exhibition on the history of Laws at UCL showed our fine collections to great effect and was further enhanced by an intervention in the closing weeks by a Slade School student.

Each exhibition is now accompanied by an illustrated booklet describing the items on show and written by a team of willing volunteers. The newly formed Exhibitions Group is now finding its feet and planning an ambitious range of two major exhibitions every year, usually accompanied by an opening party and celebration.

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Last modified 22 February 2008

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